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GPS- Baltra Airport, Galapagos Ecuador
1:00 PM / 13:00
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Please bring your C card , Nitrox card and log book (if you have one). If you have dietary requests that were noted in your cruise application, please also remind your dive guide and/or the chef once you board.
7mm wetsuits are recommended. Gloves are necessary for protection, not warmth. Bring your own gloves!
We’ll meet you at Baltra and escort you to Yacht Aqua. After lunch and safety briefings, your first stop will be in Baltra North East, where you will disembark close to the yacht in order to try on your diving suit. Make sure you get comfortable; you’ll be using this equipment during your entire diving journey!
AM: Cabo Marshall – This area on the northeast side of Isabela island offers a few great dive spots.. One of them is Ciudad de las Mantas, named for how common it is to see giant mantas. The plankton-rich waters of this area are an attraction for many species of rays, sharks, sea lions, turtles, etc.
PM: City of Mantas – The main attraction of Cape Marshall is a spot where it is so frequent to see giant mantas that it was named “City of the Mantas”. They come to feed on the plankton-rich waters, which is why visibility can be low.
On the far outer reaches of the archipelago, Darwin Island and its famous dive site, Darwin’s Arch, are the highlight of any liveaboard tour in the Galapagos. Manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, eagle rays and the occasional whale shark wow divers with their presence. The real showstopper are the huge number of sharks brought in by the strong current. You’re likely see schools of hammerheads, silky sharks, black-tip sharks and Galapagos sharks. All of this at an average depth of just 30 feet (9 meters).
At the Darwin’s Arch (now Pillars) site, the real treasure is hidden beneath the breakers that splash against the shallow reef platform. It is an outstanding hotspot for schools of scalloped hammerhead and, particularly, whale sharks. This largest fish in the world has almost the size of a bus and lets divers get up close and personal.
Sharks, turtles and jacks visit cleaning stations all around Darwin’s Arch, to be freed from parasites. They maintain an incredible symbiotic relationship with the resident barber fishes and king angelfishes. The busiest area is usually the sandy slope right in front of the portal, known as “El Arenal”.
After morning dives at Darwin, we’ll motor over to dive Wolf in the afternoon.
Shark Bay, located on the exposed east coast of Wolf, is shallower than most sites around, yet for many the most memorable. Besides being another spot where sharks galore, local cleaning stations reveal fascinating symbiotic relationships. Critically endangered hawksbill and Pacific green turtles visit busy king angelfishes.
This area has some of the best caves in the Galapagos and an exciting experience at The Pinnacle, and it’s located on the northern tip of the main island. It has four good underwater caves that penetrate into the wall of the islet and are easily accessible, although the current can get a bit strong from time to time, from south to north. All the entrances to the caves are at depths of 15-21 m/50-70 ft, and there is a sandy ledge that runs along the wall below the entrances.
The Anchorage of Wolf is the only dive site located at its sheltered west coast. Right beneath the anchored yacht, walks and hops the weird red-lipped batfish with its leg-fins on the 20 m/70 ft deep sandy bottom. Though active at night and attracted by your light’s beam, this chilly activity probably won’t be the only opportunity to marvel at this endemic Galapagos species.
Wolf is a small, uninhabited island and one of the most iconic scuba diving sites in Galápagos. The island is inhabited by birds flying in the high cliffs, sea lions also play on the waveworn rocks below. But it is beneath that treacherous shoreline where the true treasures of Wolf Island lies; this is the only place where you will get a chance to swim along with the massive wale sharks. Also in the spot, you may find schooling hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, silkies, eagle and mobula rays, bluefin tuna, turtles, and thousands of reef fish, and of course expect an amazing whistle of dolphins swimming in the place.
AM: Punta Vicente Roca – Located on the northwestern tip of Isla Isabela, Punta Vicente Roca is a Mola Mola (sunfish) cleaning station. Other sightingsinclude Red-Lipped Batfish, Seahorses, Sea Lions, Turtles, Galapagos Penguins, Galapagos Bullhead shark, schools of Black-striped Salemas and fish species not found elsewhere in Galapagos. Flightless cormorants are also often sighted at Punta Vicente Roca.
PM: Cabo Douglas – Located on the northwestern tip of Isla Fernandina, Cabo Douglas is sure to provide you amazing opportunities to observe a large amount of wildlife, above and under the water! Keep an eye out for Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, red-lipped batfish, baleen whales, and more! This is best known for being one of the few places where you can observe marine iguanas diving to feed.
AM: Cousins Rock – This triangular volcanic rock formation with blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, and Galapagos fur seals is the summit of a great underwater cone. Beautiful shelved reef terraces offer colorful algae, mollusks, sponges, sea fans, and endemic black coral surrounded by a variety of colorful fish as well as a cleaning station of white-spotted eagle rays.
Most dive profiles are in the range of 6-24m (20-80ft), although depths at most sites easily reach or exceed 40m (130ft). However, the greatest variety of life and activity is normally between the surface and 18m (60ft), so there is no need to dive deep in the Galapagos. The only time this general rule changes is during El Niño years when hammerheads and other sharks stay deeper, following their food sources and avoiding warmer water at shallower depths.
PM: Highlands of Santa Cruz – The road to the highlands leaves from Bellavista, a small village located a 15-minute drive from Puerto Ayora, and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone, and then goes to the Fern and Sedge zone. You will be able to see Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitats.
After breakfast, you will be escorted to Baltra Airport for your departure to the mainland.